One of the first posts I wrote on this site was about my frustration with getting good data on the difference between linux distros. It was titled, “Linux Users Are All Crazy Fundamentalists.” It has generated a ton of traffic, and comments from all perspectives.
I’ve held off on responding to the comments here because, for the most part, the article stands on its own. I feel like I need to respond, however, to Nick and James, and some of the other comments, to clarify my intent and purpose.
I do not expect anything to be handed to me. Never have. I understand the tradeoffs between proprietary solutions and open-source, and I am willing to embrace the challenges in order to use a free and open system. What I think you’re not understanding is that I want to become part of the contributing community surrounding linux. I want to understand, and help others to understand, how this things works. I’m not looking for someone to hand me a turn-key solution that involves no effort on my part. I want to build a server, I want to know how it works, and then I want to become part of the beautiful social cycle of reciprocation, where I pass that understanding on to those who stand where I stood.
I wrote this post out of the frustration that grew up because of that desire. I approached people with an open mind, a willingness to learn, a pretty sharp brain, and a idea of what was I was looking for in a linux platform. I wasn’t looking for someone to make a choice for me, I was looking for some reasonable basis from which I could make that decision on my own. I was confronted with a barrage of awful information, people barracking for their own cult-of-distro, rather than giving any consideration to the possibility that their might be reasonable choices outside of their own preference.
If I’m trying to build a fast and stable server, why the hell do I care if Debian does or doesn’t support a certain video card? Who cares which desktops interfaces are compatible? I’m going to use the command line, and the box will never have a monitor plugged into it. Yet, everywhere I went, there was some Ubuntu fanboy telling me that I was an idiot if I chose debian, or gentoo, or whatever, because it wasn’t compatible with xyz soundcard, or video card. Repeat 20x, for each distro, for a dozen different reasons that had nothing to do with what I actually needed out of my install.
And that, my friends, smacks of fundamentalism. When you remove yourself from reasonable discussion, and instead rely on the loudest rhetoric to make your point, you’ve lost me. Maybe that’s how the linux community protects its borders, by making bloodsport of noobies. Maybe it’s how the 12-year-old fanboys express the eternal adolescent insect of social herding. Either way, it’s frustrating and counterproductive.
I am not frustrated by choices. I’m frustrated by people who want to make those choices for me, who want me to fall in line with their gospel, and then insult my intelligence by not offering a reasonable basis for their loudly proffered opinions.